My thoughts on minimalism

Of late, I have been attempting to follow minimalism – though, in effect, I would actually call it utilitarianism rather than minimalism.

Here is a note I had written in my journal in Sept 2012 and I thought I will share it here.


Was thinking of minimalism today.

I think its not about owning the least number of things.  It’s not obsessing over owning less.

It is simply about making more room for things you really need and enjoy by getting rid of those that you don’t need.

It is simply about 3 things

  • stuff you really need
  • stuff you really enjoy owning
  • in quantities that ensures its optimal usage

Or maybe in 1 sentence – “make everything count”.

Also, it is really okay to indulge in things that you truly enjoy owning. If it’s going to make you pretty happy, you know you really need it and will use it, its worth owning.

Rest could be mercilessly downsized.

The downsizing process: remove stuff that you

  • no longer need
  • no longer enjoy using
  • have too many quantities of (until the quantity is acceptable)

Note 1:

I (we) gave out a lot of stuff in the last 3-4 months including expensive clothes, books, gadgets, kitchen items and a ton of random stuff that we had accumulated over the years. The house feels much lighter now.

I am actually enjoying my current lifestyle of owning less. In fact, almost all my personal stuff could now be stuffed into a backpack. [Items shared by family not included, like TV, table, etc. Of course, add my car, bicycle and cycling rack to my stuff, I can’t live without them 🙂 ].

Less is good. You are aware of what you own and get to enjoy owning it!

Note 2:

I neither follow any minimalism blog nor like any as of today. I used to like Leo Babauta’s mnmlist.com, but of late started feeling that he’s turned a minimalist for the sake of being a minimalist – if you get what I mean.

For a more meaningful view of the kind of minimalism I like, I would recommend reading One man’s wilderness by Richard Proenneke

2 thoughts on “My thoughts on minimalism

  1. I’d like to differ here.

    Feeling the need to only own and do what is ‘needed’ should not be considered minimalism and should be considered purposeful. It is how we ‘can’ ideally live exactly with what we need and no excess baggage. The generation before us were more inclined to this that the current generation who can be considered to be more consumerist.

    I can relate to the thought of minimalism being pushed too far.. and the feeling of minimalist for the sake of being a minimalist. But, minimalism should relate to the ‘thought and obsession of owning less constantly’ rather than getting rid of only excess baggage. Its a state of mind where one is constantly reducing or finding ways to cut down even when one may already be perceived to own less or own only what is needed. Today one may feel one owns only what one needs. Tomorrow that minimalist may feel the need to reduce further. It is exactly the opposite of a consumerist who always wants more than what he already owned yesterday. A practical person may stop at the point where the needs are satisfied, and may maintain that state. In most cases we all want to be practical rather than minimal. We may apply minimalistic principles to become practical from a consumerist state, but once we are practical, we may maintain that state. For a minimalist, minimalism might begin at this point.

  2. @Praveen: I agree on the purposeful bit. I would perhaps also call it utilitarianism.

    I see a more valid point in your comment. A walk towards minimalism has a mid-stop at being purposeful first.

    Being purposeful might be enough, but am experimenting going a bit further. Lets see, maybe I will have an update a year later.

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